In a neighborhood where we see many bits of history every day, we may not notice them all. Some are older than others, of course, and some of the more recent signs of the past are quite literally signs.
Affixed to the building at the northwest corner of Ocean Avenue and Cortelyou Road is an Edelstein & Sons Roofing sign. The company, which still operates out of Brooklyn, has been around for decades. Though this sign doesn’t look too recent, it is newer than some others that you’ll see around the neighborhood and elsewhere around the borough.
This one, on a building at the corner of Westminster Road and Foster Avenue, though brighter than the Ocean Ave sign, is clearly older. The exchange code CLoverdale was one of many used before all-number calling. The use of all numbers was introduced in the late 1950s (though it didn’t become universal in the U.S. until the ’80s), and much like the annoyance we felt when we had to start dialing area codes locally, giving up the exchange code wasn’t a popular notion. An “Anti-Digit Dialing League was incorporated to oppose ‘creeping numeralism,'” Time reported in 1962.
Another, larger version of the same sign with the telephone exchange until recently used to hang on another side of the same apartment building, on the side facing Coney Island Avenue, as this photo by Lisanne Anderson shows, but it’s since been taken down. She also has a shot of an even older version of the sign that she spotted on around Avenue N and E 10th Street.
It’s nice to know that after more than 70 years in business, and a few changes to the phone system, a company can still have the same number!
Seen any other signs of the past in Ditmas Park? Let us know at email@example.com.